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Message From Pastor Leon

posted Sep 17, 2015, 9:16 AM by Tracey Morris   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:38 AM ]

Phil Robertson is the bearded patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan.  He is a good Christian man and I once heard him say he even speaks in churches once in a while; but, he was quick to add, “I am not a preacher; preachers are those guys that are always asking for money, and that’s not what I do in church.” 

      I like Phil Robertson.  He is a funny guy and he is a good witness to his faith and maybe he doesn't ask for money when he is speaking in churches.  But he is in the business of selling duck calls.  I have seen his displays at Fleet Farm stores, and guess what:  he is always asking for money for those duck calls.  Of course, he has to.  His company has people hired and bills to pay and materials to buy and a building to keep up.  And so does the church.  I am sure Robertson knows that too, and I suspect his comment was not made in all seriousness. 

        But that is a common objection to the church, made by many people who are serious when they say it.  But think about it.  First of all, the church isn’t always asking for money.  There is  an offering taken at almost every worship service in every church.  But in every church I have ever been in, you can let that offering basket go right on by without putting anything in it; and the ushers don’t say a word, and you are allowed to stay sitting right where you are, and nobody even gives you a dirty look.  Once in a while, the pastor or someone from the council has get up to remind church members of their responsibilities, or inform them of particular needs.  And granted, there are preachers that do talk too much about money.  But even those ministers aren’t always talking about money.

      What most churches are always doing is being very generous, because that is what Jesus wants us to do with our resources.  Here at St. Paul’s we host the local Food Shelf and four days a week we hand out food without ever asking anyone for money.  Once a week the fellowship hall full of donated clothing and people from the area can take whatever they want, and we don't ask them for money either.  Once a month we make several hundred sandwiches for the homeless, which picked up that evening by a man who hands them out under bridges and on the streets of downtown Minneapolis for free.  And, we are the main source of support for an orphanage and school in Haiti.  Most Christian congregations are very generous in many ways, sometimes asking for money, but always giving it away.  That’s what congregations do. 

      This doesn't mean that every congregation make the best use of every dollar received.  No two people in any marriage are always in total agreement on budget issues, so I don't expect that the many members of a congregation will always have the same priorities and be on the same page when it comes to designating the offerings.  But most Christians are familiar with the call of Jesus to serve others, and do want their church budget to reflect that.  And sometimes the pastor has to provide some leadership and talk about money.

      Next month we will have our annual Stewardship emphasis here at St. Paul’s, and so you might hear a little bit about money.  For a couple weeks your past generosity will be acknowledged and appreciated, and your future generosity will be encouraged.  And then we will again get back to talking about other things.

 Pastor Leon